Dictatorial paranoia Ukraine | 02 April 2024

Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Ukraine increasingly restrict ROC

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An article published by Jamestown Foundation on 13 February 2024 clearly shows that the governments of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Ukraine are further restricting or even forbidding the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC-Moscow Patriarchate) from functioning in their countries. This has been caused by the Moscow Patriarchate’s full support of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The article states:

  • In the Baltic countries, the situation is more fraught and likely more fateful for others. Almost two years ago, the Latvian government ordered the Orthodox church to separate itself from Moscow. Tallinn and Vilnius are moving to reduce or even eliminate Moscow's influence on Orthodox church affairs in their respective countries, albeit in different ways and paces.
  • At the beginning of February [2024], Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called for the Verkhovna Rada to adopt a law banning the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) (as the hierarchy and laity that did not join the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU) when it achieved autocephaly in 2019). Ukrainian parliamentarians say such a measure is already being prepared in committee and will be sent to the whole body in the near future. If the measure passes—and there are good reasons to think it will—Zelensky will be able to ban the UOC. This action could lead more of its followers to shift to the autocephalous OCU, but one that will undoubtedly spark outrage in Moscow and also among some conservative churchmen and human rights activists.

World Watch Research analyst Rolf Zeegers is in no doubt: “Russia will certainly be angered by the developments in the Baltic countries and Ukraine. This is likely to only increase Russian determination to continue fighting. Furthermore, restricting a denomination can be regarded as restricting freedom of religion. However, it is clear that the Baltic countries and Ukraine regard the ROC Moscow Patriarchate as being highly dangerous for them, especially since they want to restrict Russian interference in their internal affairs as much as possible.”


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